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Crop Trust Executive Director Stefan Schmitz at GLF Climate: We Depend on Seeds for Survival

The Crop Trust’s Executive Director, Stefan Schmitz, delivered a keynote speech at the 2021 Global Landscape Forum Climate Conference “Food, Forests, Finance” about the importance of crop diversity to food security.

Watch the address or read the full speech below.

Hello everyone and thank you for joining me today at the Global Landscapes Forum.

While the world still struggles with the losses and unknowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, biodiversity loss continues at a devastating pace, and the climate crisis rages.

Our planet is at a tipping point. As the climate scientists say, “humanity is on Code-red”. As a result, food and nutrition security are ever more urgent and higher on the global agenda. And crop diversity has never been more important.

Crop diversity underpins the productivity, resilience and adaptive capacity of agriculture. That means, if we want to fight hunger and malnutrition we need cereals, fruits and vegetables that can cope with new threats like heat and drought, new pests and diseases.

We all depend on seeds for survival. So, we need to prepare for the future.

For example, here at the Bonn Botanical Gardens, plant species currently native to Germany will no longer grow here in a few years’ time.

Let’s prepare for a future where crop diversity is protected safely in seedbanks around the world. A future where seeds are resilient to extreme climate conditions. A future where our children and our grandchildren have enough nutritious food.

But this won’t just happen on its own. We must take action to make this happen.

At the Crop Trust, we are very grateful to have the great support of the Government of Norway to launch the Biodiversity for Opportunities, Livelihoods and Development (BOLD) Project. It is a new, decade-long project, funded with 58 million US dollars. BOLD will help ensure future food and nutrition security in the face of the climate crisis.

It is time to think BOLD. It is time to be BOLD! Now is the time!

We must act now to protect what is left of our planet’s crop diversity. By safeguarding seeds in seedbanks, we ensure that they’re available for us and for future generations. They are key to adapting agriculture to new threats.

Join us in protecting our basis of life.

Our Endowment Fund needs less than 1 billion US dollars to support seedbanks and protect the world’s seeds. And we are almost halfway there. We need another 500 million to ensure a future where food is secure for our children, and our children’s children.

That may seem like a  lot of money. But let’s compare how money is spent otherwise.  For example, the fossil fuel industry received almost six trillion US dollars in subsidies last year. That means, since I started talking to you, they probably received 45 million more US dollars.

If we at the Crop Trust received funds at the same rate, it would take just 40 minutes to receive all the money needed to fund crop conservation. And that’s not just for one year, but forever.

So, join us! The Crop Trust is eager to work with new partners to protect the biodiversity that underpins agriculture.

Don’t forget, seeds are everybody’s business.

Thank you for your time. Be well, be BOLD!

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